Vox Day, ‘political philosopher’?


His words. Not mine. To be fair, I’m assuming, though not implausibly, they’re Vox Day‘s in the following blurb for his latest book, Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker:

Jordan Peterson is believed by many to be the greatest thinker that humanity has ever known. He is Father Figure, Philosopher-King, and Prophet to the millions of young men who are his most fervent fans and followers. He is the central figure of the Intellectual Dark Web, an academic celebrity, and an unparalleled media phenomenon who has shattered all conceptions of what it means to be modern celebrity in the Internet Age.

He has, by his own admission, thought thoughts that no man has ever thought before. He has dared to dream dreams that no man has ever dreamed before.

Of course, Jordan Peterson also happens to be a narcissist, a charlatan, and an intellectual con man who doesn’t even bother to learn the subjects upon which he lectures. He is a defender of free speech who silences other speakers, a fearless free-thinker who never hesitates to run away from debates, difficult questions, and controversial issues, a philosopher who rejects the conventional definition of truth, and a learned professor who has failed to read most of the great classics of the Western canon. He is, in short, a shameless and unrepentant fraud who lacks even a modicum of intellectual integrity.

But is Jordan Peterson more than a mere fraud? Is he something more sinister, more unbalanced, and even more dangerous? In JORDANETICS: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker, political philosopher Vox Day delves deeply into the core philosophy that Jordan Peterson advocates in both his written works and his video lectures. In doing so, Day methodically builds a shocking case that will convince even the most skeptical Jordan Peterson supporter to reconsider both the man and his teachings.

Some comments:

  1. Serious thinkers don’t begin an abstract or preview of their work in passive voice with the vague plural pronoun “many.”
  2. Who exactly thinks “Peterson is the greatest thinker that humanity has ever known”? His peers? His fans? Historians? I hope Day has done the empirical leg-work here to support all his provocative claims in this book.
  3. Philosophers aren’t aghast when other thinkers reject the “conventional definition of truth,” i.e. the correspondence theory of truth (CTT). Hegel, Nietzsche, the American pragmatists — to name a few — were no proponents of it either. Were they just intellectual frauds too?
  4. Serious intellectuals, political philosophers included, avoid polemics and facetious rhetoric when criticizing someone.
  5. Philosophers don’t conflate dialectic with invective. They don’t make intellectual disagreement personal. This preview is a prologue to what looks to be a hatchet job.
  6. Serious intellectuals and philosophers tend not to carelessly assert dubious claims and demonstrable falsehoods in their published work. For example, is Peterson’s célébrité really comparable to the influence of a religious figure like a prophet to his fans? How does Day know these fans’ psychology so well as to claim that? Furthermore, Google Scholar shows Peterson’s work has been cited more than 10,000 times, strongly suggesting he indeed thinks “thoughts that no man has ever thought before” precisely because many other men doing original research give him credit for conclusions and ideas he’s produced. It also debunks the libelous contention that “he lacks a modicum of intellectual integrity,” as hundreds of scholars find his work worth adducing. And the notion he’s a hypocritical free-thinker “who never hesitates to to run away from debates, difficult questions, and controversial issues” is laughable. What was Peterson’s stand against Canada’s Bill C-16 about then? He’s engaged hostile journalists in interviews and debated social justice warrior professors. Is Day’s audience too drunk on Alt-Right Kool-Aid not to see through this nonsense?
  7. The gratuitous hypocrisy in these four paragraphs is dumbfounding. If you’re going to condemn a man for not reading most of the seminal works of Western civilization, then don’t complain when he doesn’t maintain the CTT. Don’t decry a well-published academic as a “charlatan, an intellectual con man” when making no effort to observe the mores of the vita contemplativa, proclaiming yourself a political philosopher, and promoting your book that almost certainly is more concerned with malicious ad hominem than truth.

I’ve argued for it once before, but Day is a petty and envious sophist and ideologue. The tirade above is proof positive.

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The sophistry of Vox Day: Naked revulsion for Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, and anything ‘Judeo-Christian’


Maybe it’s the journalist and philosopher in me, but I don’t like Vox Day. He is a sophist, a demagogue. My background in both disciplines fostered a healthy distaste for such people. At the very least, it’s clear to see he’s not the robust intellectual he portrays himself to be—a charade that unfortunately has duped too many of my millennial peers.

How do I know this? Well, for starters, take his hatred for conservative media personality Ben Shapiro as expressed in this diatribe against him:

The relentlessly dishonest Ben Shapiro was quick to publicly deny both Jesus Christ and the Christian heritage of America while taking speedy exception to a rabbi telling Christians the truth about her religion. Shut it down! Unfortunately for the Littlest Chickenhawk, Twitter was well-informed and having none of it. Do not be deceived. Shapiro is a lying, parasitical snake; he is a Fake Right Fake American who has been artificially propped up in the media for nearly two decades in order to lead Christians and conservatives astray.

Um, okay then. But what did Shapiro actually say? Day quotes Shapiro responding via Twitter to Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg:

“Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg@TheRaDR
This might be a good time to note that ‘Judeo-Christian’ is not a thing and we Jews would like you to stop conflating our tradition with your American Christianity.

Ben Shapiro@benshapiro
This is nonsense.

Ben Shapiro@benshapiro
Judaism and Christianity are deeply intertwined. American Christianity has generally had a deeper love for the Old Testament than European Christianity. And the vast majority of religious American Christians see the Jews as the root of the tree of Christ.

Ben Shapiro‏@benshapiro
The fact that America is Judeo-Christian and not merely Christian is a reflection of those facts”…

If one isn’t a rabid ideologue, it’s evident Day is the “relentlessly dishonest” one in his characterization of Shapiro here. Shapiro neither was “quick to publicly deny” Jesus Christ nor “the Christian heritage” of America (Yes, I know he is practicing orthodox Jew and rejects the divinity of Jesus, but he doesn’t articulate that view in the provided exchange on Twitter). The editor of The Daily Wire asserts that America is both a product of Judaism and Christianity—note the phrase “merely Christian.” Whether this is true or requires some qualification—something that Twitter’s platform makes difficult—it’s obvious Shapiro was not denying Christianity’s influence on America. I see no evidence of insincerity on his part for making the claims he does.

So, why does Day call him a “lying, parasitical snake” and a “Fake Right Fake American who has been artificially propped up in the media for nearly two decades in order to lead Christians and conservatives astray”? Why the vitriolic conspiracy theory-mongering?

Well, Day is of the Alt-Right. The Alt-Right is for the deployment of white identity politics in the face of the non-white identity politics that constitute the contemporary left. Jews, as a tribe, are not white; according to the Alt-Right, they have group interests that differ and, in some cases, are opposed to that of whites. Therefore, if America is fundamentally a white ethno-state, as the Alt-Right contends, then Jews are a foreign group who work against the social and political dominance of whites in their own countries and must be defeated. That’s why the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about “the Jews controlling everything behind the scenes” have found a comfortable home within the Alt-Right. The notion that the Western civilization, Christianity, and, by extension, America have roots in Judaism and Jewish Biblical narrative, which is true, is something Alt-Right anti-Semites like Day, who maintain America, Europe, and the West were formed by and can only be predominantly for whites, can’t ideologically stomach.

This explains Day’s irrational praising of “well-informed” red-pillers on Twitter who supposedly put the nefarious Shapiro in his place.

Crew@CarborundumCrew
Ben, there is no Judeo-Christ!

Heather Anne@cler_morgaine
Judaism and Christianity are both *Abrahamic* faiths. The term ‘judeo-christian’ is used to to fake religious pluralism while excluding Islam, which arguably has more in common with both than they do each other.

Dr. Ramone, Esq.@melvinramone
Judaism rejects the core premise of Christianity. You’re making up facts.

Cornelius Rye@CorneliusRye2
It’s literally not. It’s a very recent invention by YOUR PEOPLE. Jews have very little to do with America pre-WWII.

JOHNMEYER@JOHNMEY28401489
You represent Talmudism. Different thing.

#BroniesForTrump@GWSSDelta
White evangelical Christians’ rate Jews 69 out of 100, but Jews rate evangelical Christians 34 out of 100. I look forward to the day when Christians wake up from the “Judeo-Christian” “greatest ally” con and realize that Jews hate them.

Emprah’sFinest@SamHydeShooter
Please tell me which of the Founders was a Jew.

Deplorable Unum 🇮🇹@deplorable_unum
Wrong. America predates the 20th Century, when the “Judeo-Christan”  term first appeared. Stop trying to rewrite America history, little Benny.

The Forgotten Man@_ForgottenMan
As many of the presidents of the past have said, “This is a Christian nation.” The Judeo-Christian makes no sense, Judaism and Christianity are two very different religions.

These are red herrings that don’t refute the claim that America and the West owe much of their cultural heritage to Jewish monotheism, legalism, and the Imago Dei to which Shapiro, charitably interpreted, was referring. These and other ideas, which originate in Judaism, undergird—dare I say it—a “Judeo-Christian” value system that has been highly influential in the development of the West. It’s irrelevant if the term “Judeo-Christian” is a 20th century neologism, if some Jews have used it to advance their ethnic interests, or some people use it to promote “religious pluralism”, i.e. multiculturalism. Its referent, the object to which it refers, is real whether Day and company recognize it.

Likewise, Judaism indeed is a different religion than Christianity. But so what? Christianity and its revelation of the New Testament only makes sense in light of the Old Testament and its narratives and prophecies involving the Jewish people. At least, that’s how millions of Christians understand the Bible.

And no, acknowledging these cultural ties does not entail that I and other Christians are following “Judeo-Christ,” a supposedly humanist idol, instead of Jesus Christ. I don’t know how Day and some Alt-Righties go from a belief in an intertwined cultural inheritance shared with Jews to blasphemy for a secular pseudo-religion, but it’s the sort of dialectical slipperiness and presumptuous assertion befitting the most deliberately opaque continental thinkers. Less of a Christian—at least not in a meaningful sense—and more of a white nationalist, Day endeavors to obscure what’s plain and true to satisfy the tribalism he preaches.

It’s also hard to mistake the stench of jealousy wafting from his frequent assaults on Shapiro and now Jordan Peterson. Their influence on the right far surpasses Day’s. They’re also critical of the Alt-Right, and Day’s reaction to their criticisms and their profound popularity is telling. He not only name-calls (e.g. “Littlest Chickenhawk” for Shapiro and Peterson, the “nutcase,” who “is objectively stupid”), he denounces them as malevolently dangerous. They’re shams, charlatans, props for our globalist overlords in order to immunize white men from any red pill dissident geniuses like Day can bestow. You see, for Day, being a classical liberal, which both Shapiro and Peterson are, makes you “a leftist.” Advocating individual personal responsibility apparently implies denying your racial and other group identities. “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” seems to be Day’s angry tune.

Sorry, I’m not marching to this fife; these are not the pronouncements of someone who is interested in the truth. They are in no way “substantive.” Rather, they’re the envious polemics of a man consumed by an ideology that rejects who and what each of us are fundamentally—persons whose being comes from our rational animal nature as created and sustained by God. It’s in this way more than any other in which Day and the Alt-Right are just the inverse image, a photo negative, of the social justice warrior whom they despise. To both, we all are just merely tokens of racial and or sexual types. Either way, we spiritually desecrate ourselves, as well as others, with the proliferation of such false identification.

Avoid both extremes and those who espouse them. Look for less paranoid, more intellectually rigorous voices on the right.